Experiential learning refers to learning through action, learning by doing, learning through experience, and learning through discovery and exploration. Experiential learning experiences help to complete students' preparation for their chosen careers which reinforce course content and theory. Students learn through student- rather than instructor-centered experiences by doing, discovering, reflecting and applying. Through these experiences, students develop communication skills and self confidence and gain and strengthen decision-making skills by responding to real world situations and processes.
Facilitating Group Work on Blackboard Next Generation
Conducting group activities in an online environment can be facilitated with proper preparation and design of learning activities and a set of appropriate collaboration tools. Blackboard Next Generation offers a number of useful tools that can enhance group collaboration. Earlier versions of Blackboard included a group creation function. Faculty members were able to create single groups and manually assign students to each of them. However, Blackboard's latest upgrade includes a number of expanded group features. While faculty can still create a single group, they are now able to create multiple groups, known as a "group set."
Learning On the Go
This summer, NIU released its first campus-wide mobile app, NIU Mobile for Apple (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad), Blackberry, Android, and webOS devices.
The app connects students and faculty to NIU resources on-the-go, including the campus directory and calendar as well as athletics schedules and scores. Campus maps can help new students find their way around campus, and Emergency Information is easy to access. There is even a portal to search the library catalog.
NIU Mobile also includes access to Blackboard Mobile Learn, so students can access course materials, post to the discussion board, and check their grades from anywhere. Faculty can also post announcements from the app.
Blackboard Portfolio Tool Now Available Campus-Wide
With the recent upgrade to Blackboard's Service Pack 6 in Version 9.1, the Portfolio tool is now live and available to all NIU users. Bundled with Blackboard's Content Collection system, NIU students, faculty, and staff will now be able to assemble, present, and share their Portfolios online. This allows all students, faculty, and staff to document academic growth, highlight career evaluation, or demonstrate professional development. Portfolios can then be presented to individuals or groups of users.
New Student Response System (Clickers) Adopted by NIU
Student Response System is a technology which allows faculty to receive immediate feedback from students wirelessly with the use of small handheld devices commonly referred to as 'clickers.'
NIU faculty have used a number of different clicker systems throughout the years; between 2007 and 2011, eInstruction CPS has been the centrally supported student response system. Because in the last several semesters there were consistent software and support problems with eInstruction CPS, a faculty committee together with ITS and Faculty Development have reviewed other student response system vendors.
After conducting an evaluation of a number of student response systems in the spring 2011 semester and having faculty pilot two of the systems during the summer 2011 semester, NIU has made a decision to transition to the Turning Technologies student response system beginning in the Fall 2011 semester.
Spectrum is a newsletter for faculty published every fall and spring semester by Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, Adams Hall 319, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois 60115. Phone: (815) 753-0595, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Fax: (815) 753-2595, Web site: www.niu.edu/facdev. For more information about featured articles or upcoming faculty development programs, please contact the Center at (815) 753-0595 or email@example.com
Last Updated: 10/01/2015